EDU Secretary-General receives briefing on Syrian Refugee Crisis from Jordanian Ambassador
The conflict in Syria is the currently the most discussed topic in diplomatic circles.
Geo-politics and historical context mean that the civil war, while devastating in its own right, is also inevitably impacting beyond the borders of Syria and affecting regional stability. Deaths in the conflict are described by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, thusly:
"The number of casualties is much higher than we expected, and is truly shocking."
Refugee numbers, perhaps the saddest and most prolonged collateral damage of any conflict, are staggering and number in the millions. Over 1 million people have been internally displaced within Syria and total refugee numbers are estimated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to have exceeded 2 million.
Syria’s neighbours, including Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq have all taken large numbers of Syrian Refugees. However, the largest contingent has been accommodated by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan with an estimated 580 thousand with a total of about 1.2 million Syrians living in Jordan. Even before the current crisis Jordan was home to between 650 and 700 thousand Syrians who fled events in Homs and Hama in 1982.
The day after Jordanian Social Development Minister, Reem Abu Hassan, appealed for international assistance to cope with the effort, His Excellency Irving Levance, Secretary-General of EDU, was briefed on the situation by His Excellency Ghassan Majali, the Jordanian Ambassador in Madrid, Spain.
Although the discussions were principally about the effect on the provision of education to displaced peoples, the Ambassador began his briefing explaining that Jordan is well used to its role as a stable safe haven in the region in times of crisis.
It is a matter of official record that when Ambassador Ghassan Majali presented his credentials to His Majesty King Carlos I of Spain , the current Monarch made specific mention of the valuable role of His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan to bring about peace and stability in the region and the world.
Historically, Jordan is vulnerable to such stresses and crises in the region, is experienced in this role and performs a vital service to the region and the world in attenuating the humanitarian impact a series of regional crises.
Jordan has absorbed Refugee waves of Syrians, Palestinians and Iraqis.
Jordan is currently home to over 500,000 Iraqi Refugees and hosts the largest Palestinian community in the Middle East. This Palestinian community is divided into 2 distinct groups, the first from the 1948 war and the second from the 1967 war as a result of the occupation of the West Bank.
Zaatari Refugee Camp
The Zaatari Refugee Camp with over 120,000, of which the vast majority (75%) are women and children, is the second largest in the world after Dadaab in Kenya.
The Ambassador is quick to point out that, although this facility is the highest profile face of the situation, the majority of Syrian Refugees are in fact distributed around communities in Jordan with active support from ordinary Jordanian families and civil society. Except in the actual Refugee Camps where special educational and health programs have been implemented, the policy is to integrate the Syrians into the Jordanian systems.
This most charitable and humane approach has placed an enormous strain on education, health and other resources in Jordan. Neither these resources, nor the extraordinary good will of individual Jordanians, can be considered infinite.
His Excellency Irving Levance, the Secretary-General of the Intergovernmental Organization EDU, delivered his thanks to His Excellency Ghassan Majali for the excellence of his briefing, paid tribute to His Majesty King Abdullah II and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for such a noble contribution to humanitarian endeavours.
The Secretary-General agreed to task EDU officials to look into opportunities to assist in educational matters associated with the Syrian Refugee crises.
A specific area of interest provisionally identified was the therapeutic properties of sports education for children affected by the crisis.
H.E. Irving Levance briefed on Jordanian educational successes.
EDU Secretary-General pays personal homage to UNHCR heroes.